UPDATE 6-Syria fears fuel sharp gain in U.S. oil prices
* World leaders pressure U.S. over Syria at G20 summit
* Oil producers in Iraq fret about Syria, boost security
* U.S. job data misses expectations
(Adds details. Updates prices.)
NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures were on track for their largest daily percentage gain in more than two weeks as investors rushed to buy amid concerns a possible military strike against Syria could cause oil prices to spike.
The U.S. Congress will vote next week on President Barack Obama's proposal to launch a missile strike to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Baghdad and foreign oil companies at work in Iraq's giant oilfields are adopting extra security measures in anticipation of retaliatory attacks if there is a U.S.-led strike against neighboring Syria, industry sources said.
"The escalation of the rhetoric and tension has certainly gotten the crude oil market's attention," said Andy Lebow with Jefferies Bache in New York.
At the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Obama has faced growing pressure from Russia, China, the European Union and major emerging market countries not to carry out a strike without support from the U.N. Security Council.
But Obama said failure to act against Syria's use of chemical weapons would embolden "rogue nations" to use them too. Obama said he would address the American people on Syria on Tuesday.
Obama declined to say whether he would proceed with a strike against Syria even if Congress votes "No."
Brent oil, the global benchmark has already priced in concern that a potential U.S. strike on Syria would spread unrest and disrupt Middle East oil supplies.
U.S. oil rallied more sharply as some investors rushed to cover short positions ahead of the weekend while others bought aggressively. U.S. oil was playing catch up, said Rich Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of iitrader.com LLC in Chicago.
"Right here you have speculators in WTI. Brent was already pricing in the action, that's why you see a bigger bid in WTI."
Brent crude oil futures for October delivery were trading 96 cents higher at $116.22 per barrel at 12:52 p.m. EDT (1652 GMT).
U.S. crude oil for October delivery was last trading $2.03 per barrel higher at $110.40, after trading as high as $110.45. The front-month contract was on track for a 1.9 percent gain, which would be the largest daily percentage gain since Aug. 27.
U.S. crude extended slight gains after the Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls increased 169,000 last month, but the jobs number was less than the market expected.
Rising U.S. oil prices narrowed Brent's premium to U.S. crude oil to a two-week high of $5.66. The spread <CL-LCO1=R> was last trading at $5.81 per barrel.
The Brent market has also been focused on and supported by tighter supplies in recent months as Libya has reduced output and North Sea crude, which underpins the Brent oil contract, has faced some supply disruptions.
That was set to change next month as North Sea producers were expected to boost supplies.
Saudi Arabia produced a record 10.10 million barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) in August, and supplied the market with 10.07 million bpd, industry sources said.
Late last month, the top OPEC oil producer, said it would pump a record 10.5 million bpd of crude in the third quarter, its highest quarterly level of production ever, U.S. energy consultancy PIRA said.
(Additional reporting by Lin Noueihed in London and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)